Take a wild guess about where these pictures were taken.
The answer is: neither one of them (um, I actually gave away the answer in the title of this entry, so if you couldn’t guess that, you have a problem, my friend!)!
For one day, all Indonesians in the Netherlands flocked and moved together in a neat choreography, like how the duck flew in a V-formation to the south. Our destination was one -the Indonesian ambassador to the Netherlands’ residence in Wassenar- and so was our aim –to celebrate the festivity of Ied al Fitr!
Every year, the Ambassador hosted an all-day party to celebrate the Ied, where all Indonesians are invited to gather, eat for free, and in general make merry. This is the cherry on top of the warm gesture our Embassy in Den Haag extends to us during Ramadan, the fast-breaking dinner party on every Friday.
Needless to say, these events were the highlights of the week for Indonesian students. Where and when else could we feasted on our local state of the art cuisine like opor ayam or rendang for free and for such an excellent quality? We were the envy of our fellow international students all month, for no other embassies ever hosted such occasions. Some of them even felt so curious, they decided to come with us and become honorary Indonesians for the day, like our friends Wendy from Costa Rica and Yoko from Japan!
But seriously, the delight of free food aside, there was real joy to be found in celebrating the Ied together with people from your homeland. Although I am not a Moslem, I too celebrated Ied. At home, it was a celebration with your dearest friends who are mostly Moslems. This time, in my temporary home for the next year, the Ied celebration gifted me with the realization that I have a family even in the other hemisphere of the globe. And it was a nice gift indeed.
Den Haag, 28 September 2009